dwood@northshire.com's blog

Dafydd Wood - Events and Community Outreach Coordinator in Manchester

Dafydd, a Vermont-transplant from Louisiana by way of Austin, is the events manager for Northshire's Manchester location. He has happily found a new use for his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (on international interdisciplinary modernism). His tastes run arch and snooty from early 20th century culture generally to contemporary avant garde classical music, from Ethiopian Jazz and Afrobeat to historical materialism, art criticism, and poetics. He likes to read modernism (not so much the post-), history, travel literature, classics, poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and essays. He also likes his wife (a midwife), his kids (two of whom are picture here), cooking, beer, B-movies, art, and nature.

We the Dead: Preserving Data at the End of the World by Brian Michael Murphy - Book Review

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We the Dead: Preserving Data at the End of the World By Brian Michael Murphy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781469668284
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: University of North Carolina Press - August 23rd, 2022

There is something remarkable on every page of this important and intensely fascinating book which reveals just how ensnared we all are to Big Data. Hell, it shifts my understanding of “me”--there’s my body and as Murphy shows there’s also my “data body,” stored piecemeal in some of the hundreds of fascinating environs that We the Dead explores. Murphy dramatizes the big narrative of how the data complex developed, exploded, commodified our lives, and colonized us via technology but with a poet’s eye for detail. White supremacist time capsule aficionados. Books gassed with Zyklon B. Miles of rotting documents. Nuclear armageddon cosplay, the golden record, historical amnesia, self-destructing emails, eugenic whiteness. Human DNA as digital storage.Terrifying and funny. From the Civil War to space tourist venture capitalists and beyond, this is one of those rare books–like Stamped from the Beginning–that is revelatory, epochal. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Diaghilev's Empire: How the Ballets Russes Enthralled the World by Rupert Christiansen - Book Review

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Diaghilev's Empire: How the Ballets Russes Enthralled the World By Rupert Christiansen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374139698
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 18th, 2022

Christiansen, an acclaimed arts correspondent and self-confessed balletomane, sketches the history and impact of not only one of the great titans and innovators of 20th century modernism, but also the most important ballet company that has ever existed-–Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Diaghilev’s name should be remembered with those of Picasso, Proust, and Eliot as one of the central creators of the new, an impresario who had the drive to pull off the impossible somehow and with no money. Everyone who was anyone attended the Russian ballet. The 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring with music by Stravinsky and choreographed by Nijinsky famously caused a literal riot. Christiansen’s thorough history positions the company in the context of ballet at the time, thrillingly discusses its triumphs, collaborators (Picasso, Braque, Cocteau), and dancers, and shows how Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes are directly responsible for the ubiquity of ballet schools, students, and teachers across the country. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Corregidora (Celebrating Black Women Writers #1) by Gayl Jones - Book Review

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Corregidora (Celebrating Black Women Writers #1) By Gayl Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807061091
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Beacon Press - January 29th, 2019

The most important American novel you’ve never heard of. Discovered and edited by Toni Morrison, praised by James Baldwin as “the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women,” and promptly forgotten, Gayl Jones’ Corregidora is a powerful, moving novel about generational trauma and female desire. After abuse from her husband that results in a hysterectomy, the Blues singer Ursa confronts the legacy of the slave master who fathered both her grandmother and her mother. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Picasso's War: How Modern Art Came to America by Hugh Eakin - Book Review

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Picasso's War: How Modern Art Came to America By Hugh Eakin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451498489
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Crown - July 12th, 2022

A gripping history of how NYC became the capital of the art world. Structured around the lives of John Quinn an early 20th century art collector who amassed a premiere collection of modernist art and Alfred H. Barr the director of MOMA, Picasso’s War charts how the country transformed from a provincial cultural backwater at the beginning of the 20th century with the ridicule heaped upon the avant garde 1913 Armory Show to the blockbuster triumph of MOMA’s 1939 Picasso show which toured around the country to hundreds of thousands of visitors. Along the way we find terrific portraits of Picasso and just how difficult he was to work with, his dealers Kahnweiler and Rosenberg, a history of modernism and the avant garde against the background of the first half of the 20th century and the effects of two world wars on the art world. It is the story not so much of how modern art was made, but how it triumphed in practice. Fascinating and lucidly written. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns - Book Review

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The Vet's Daughter By Barbara Comyns, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Barbara Comyns, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590170298
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: NYRB Classics - April 30th, 2003

An enchanting voice in deplorable circumstances animates the most successful book of Barbara Comyns’ career. Author of the strange and wonderful Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead (an all time favorite) Comyns has an amazing knack for the child narrator observing horrors. Alice, the daughter of a despicable, abusive veterinarian, lives in a dingy house full of animals, a rug made from the skin of a Great Dane, and a “horse’s hoof without a horse attached to it.” She captures the sad world of lower middle class London in the early 20th century, but the book is electrified by Alice’s voice as it matter-of-factly (and often comically) describes the terrible. Soon Alice discovers she has the ability to levitate (usually after a trauma). One of the great “feel bad” books. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


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